Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Panadeine and trousers

A few years ago I was suffering from a really crook back; a monument to being forty-five and working like a navvy for a couple of months on an extension to the house. Being the cheapskate that I am, I hadn't employed anyone to give me a hand, so consequently I was man-handling great lumps of steel girders and timber framework all day long for weeks. I got the extension done, but then my spine collapsed in a puddle of calciferous gunk on top of my pelvis. I shuffled around the house for a couple of weeks, using a blender to mix up a heady concoction of scotch and panadeine forte that I sipped regularly from a pop-top bottle slung around my neck by a cord.

It didn't really ease the pain, just made me forget where I'd left it. The one really anti-social side effect this remedy had, though, was my inclination to yell the most foul abusive epithets at anyone or anything as soon as I felt a twinge. It was like Tourette's in slow motion, devoid of the precisely clipped utterances of that unusual condition. I would begin to bellow "AHHHHHHH.....YERRRRR.FFUUUUKKKKIN.......CUUUUUUUNT" after opening the front door for two elderly Jehovah's Witnesses. The spectacle of me, with wild hair, filthy t-shirt and equally filthy underpants spitting painkiller-laden scotch all over their copies of the Watchtower was too much for the poor old ducks, and they scurried away without even offering a "Hail Mary", or whatever they intone down at their stupid little Kingdom Hall. Good riddance, I thought, as I hobbled back to the sofa, thinking about the various ergonomic strategies that would allow me to actually sit on the thing.

My ever-lovin' wife finally realised I needed professional help, and solicitously advised me to "Get to the doctor, you dopey fuckwit!" I pondered this encouragement for a while, and hit the Yellow Pages.

Under "Health Care Professionals", I encountered an ad for some outfit that guaranteed to ease the pain of bad backs. "That's the one for me," I thought, so I had a shower and got my wife to run me down there. I kept the pop-top with me, though, just in case.

We got to the place, which turned out to be one side of a semi-detached in our local village. I extricated myself from the car with the aid of one or two "Fucks" and "Cunts", and hobbled up the wheelchair-access ramp to the door. Inside was a receptionist sitting behind a desk.

"Crook back," I said to her glumly.

"Yeah, I know," she replied, "I heard you get out of your car. Just go straight through, Doctor will be with you in a minute."

I shuffled into the next room, where a pretty impressive massage table was perched in the middle, with various charts explaining Christ knows what about skeletal diseases pinned to the walls. A couple of odd-looking therapeutic machines stood on the floor.

"Not bad," I thought, "looks pretty professional."

The doctor came in. "Hi, I'm Gordon," he said with a great beaming smile, " you must be Laurie. What have you got in the bottle?"

"Water," I replied self-consciously, a pretty poor excuse as I must have smelt like a cross between a moonshiner's and an ice lab. Gordon was about six feet four, and one of the thinnest people I'd ever seen. And, when my vision finally focused on his face, I realised that Gordon had a decidedly odd glint in his eye.

"Right, feller, strip, and up on the table!" he proclaimed, rubbing his hands together with what I felt was an evangelistic fervour. I took everything off, crawled up onto the table and lay with my head through the little hole at the top.

"No, no, turn over, friend; I want to do a history first!"

"Oh well," I thought, "at least he's thorough."

"Now, let's start with any childhood diseases. Asthma? Measles? Mumps? Tonsillitis? Anything more serious? Good. Now what about lifestyle?"

"I knew you were going to ask about that," I thought with some trepidation.

'Smoke? Hmmm, that's too bad - how many a day? Ooh, that much? That's not good, friend. Now what about alcohol? How much do you drink per day?"

"Er, about five or six, I suppose," I mumbled shamefacedly.

"Goodness, friend - you're going to have to cut that in half!"

"I thought I just did, Doc."

He ignored me as he proceeded down his checklist. We covered gout, sinusitis, and a couple of other relatively mild complaints that most blokes with a few decades of fairly serious living end up with, and we got down to my diet. "What do you have for breakfast?" he enquired.

"Oh, the usual, I suppose Doc."

"Weetbix, juice, that sort of thing?" he asked.

The pain started to find its way back to my cortex. "Shit, no, Doc - I'm a musician. Two cups of double-shot and four cigarettes!"

He looked at me as though he'd finally found the patient from hell. I was obviously a challenge; if he could save me from dying from a variety of diseases before I walked out of his surgery, the medical journals would be queuing up for his submissions.

"Laurie," he said in a very serious, but oh-so quiet voice, "your back pain is entirely related to the poor energy that is flowing to your spine due to your - I'm sorry to say - death-making lifestyle."


"Your back is the focus of a number of chakras that distribute energy throughout the body. Now, I'm going to work on a manipulation of your back. Roll over, please."

I dutifully, if bemusedly, complied, wondering if I could reach down to the pop-top which was lying on top of the pile of my clothes. I gave up, as Gordon started to furiously punch me in various spots along my spine.

"Fuckin' Jesus, Doc!" I exclaimed, as pain shot through my back and threatened to blow the top off my head. "This is killing me!"

"It'll hurt for a little while, Laurie," he calmly pronounced, "now, I want you to think of smooth things. We need that smoothing energy to transfer all the way down your spine."

"You mean, like river rocks, or something?" I replied, somewhat befuddled by the turn of events. He finally finished pummeling me, and motioned for me to turn back over. He got up on the table himself, planted a knee right in the middle of my chest, grabbed hold of my shoulders and started to heave them upwards.

The pain was excruciating; my whole spine felt like it was being ripped clean out of my body. I bore it for about five seconds before I finally screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK OFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!" and pushed Gordon as hard as I could. He fell back against the wall, and I leapt off the table. I wrestled half of my clothes back on, and turned to see Gordon squatting on the floor, rubbing the back of his head.

"What sort of fucking doctor are you?" I snarled at the great big string bean.

"Well, I'm not a doctor, specifically, I'm a chiropractor," he replied.

"No, mate - you're an A-Grade lunatic charlatan!" I yelled, and hurried out the room, past the astonished receptionist, out the door, down the ramp, and straight into a telephone pole.

I woke up, about three hours later, in what turned out to be the emergency room of the local hospital, with a bloke in a white coat peering over me. He turned out to be a real doctor.

"Ah, Mr F____," he said, "back in the land of the living, I see."

"What... what happened?" I groaned.

"You had a bit of an altercation with a telephone pole, I'm afraid. You've got a subdural haematoma on your forehead - that's a bump on the head, for you - but you're lucky; there's no concussion, and you're free to go as soon as you feel up to it."

I lay there for a moment, and then it dawned on me - my back felt fine. I've never worked out whether is was Gordon the Goose's "therapy" (although I doubt it), or whether the force of the impact with the pole put whatever was out, er, back in. I prefer the latter.

"Just a little bit of advice, Laurie," said the doc.

"Ah, Doc, I think I've had about as much medical advice as I can stand, today," I protested.

"No, Laurie, I was thinking more along the lines of sartorial advice: normally, when a bloke goes to visit Gordon Gay on a Friday afternoon in downtown Kurrajong, it's a wise move to leave the premises with one's pants on."


zarbi said...

A delight to read, and laugh-out-loud funny!

TheWhitePearl said...


You have life stories straight out of a sitcom.

I still can't stop laughing.

Apathy Personified said...

Haha - Keep the stories coming Laurie!

Philip1978 said...

I am currently sitting in the office desperately doing all I can not to howl with laughter, I can hardly hold my tea cup!

Shouting cunt at the Jehovah's Witnesses was the best thing I have heard in a while! Reminds me of a friend of mine who was fed up with being visited and so walked up to the door polishing his broadsword, they never came back!

Thanks for the laughs yet again!